Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Moroccan Spiced Mutton Chops

Gabriel headed out to the Halal butcher's and came back with a pound and a half of "lamb" chops for such a low price, something like $3 per pound or so. Well they're mighty big for lamb chops, looks like these sheep had rather full lives before they ended up on our table, so I'm going to play it safe and give them a good, strong, piquant spice rub so as to cover over any potential gaminess of the meat. Looking on the internet, I found a bunch of seemingly unadventurous spice rub mixes, so I've combined the spice rub pictured here out of my pantry with a vaguely Moroccan-Middle Eastern inspiration: For 1-1/2 pounds of chops: Starting at noon and going clockwise:
1/4 tsp sumac,
1/4 tsp coriander,
1/4 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika,
1/4 tsp cumin,
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper,
1/4 tsp black pepper and (in center)
1/8 tsp cinnamon.
To this, add 1/2 tsp salt

Rub this mixture all over the meat, place on a rack at the top 3rd of your oven at 400-450F, and bake for 20 minutes. Aside from thick clouds of smoke, you will have medium-cooked chops that are deliciously brown and crunchy on the edges. Gabriel's take on the spice rub? Reminds him of North African merguez sausage. I call that a hit.


Blogger Cherry said...

I love lamb, and I actually enjoy the gaminess, but this rub sounds so good. I rarely do rubs and just pat with a little s&p. Perhaps it's time to break my habits and try this rub. It sounds robust and yummy.

What did you serve it with?

5:32 PM  
Blogger Lea said...

haha! What a very specific thing for a flavor to remind someone of! I've never even heard of it! I am curious!

I also love lamb! I'm so bummed chops are so skimpy around here!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Beenzzz said...

I'm sure these lamb chops are amazing! I'll have to try this. Actually, I'll have to pass on this recipe to my hubby D. He loves to cook!

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, just discovered your blog and LOVE it! I will most certainly try these chops. It was really great to see you and Gabriel on your recent visit(s). I sure miss all of your wonderful dinner parties. Ciao, Nikki

5:21 AM  
Blogger hellomelissa said...

those are lovely "chops." and i LOVE any rub with cinnamon in it.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Hi Cherry, You know, after tasting the final product, I think I like gaminess too. These chops were a lot more flavorful than normal lamb chops.

Hi Lea, I don't know if you have a Halal butcher nearby or a Whole Foods but they would be likely to carry merguez. Otherwise, if you're ever in Paris, it's everywhere.

Hi Beenzzz, All the better if hubby does the cooking!

Hey Nikki!! (can I call you Nikki?) I was so glad to get a chance to see you this winter too. Your salad was nothing less than blogworthy, if you're ever in the mood to pass on the recipe, I'd love to feature it. If you ever find yourself in Italy, DO call!

Hi Melissa, A lot of the spices in rubs seem to get too subtle for my taste, cinnamon stays clear though. It's good.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan, that rub looks wonderful. I'm all for gaminess, but there's nothing wrong with a little spice to go with it.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$3/lb. for lamb chops?! Sounds like a score even if they might have tasted a bit on the game-y side. Actually looking forward to Easter so that I can get me some stinco di agnello!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:27 PM  
Blogger J at said...

Does look like mutton to me, but also, it looks MIGHTY tasty. ;) I might have to try this one! Might be good with some of that hummous!

I've never heard of sumac, though...

8:07 PM  
Blogger Lady Amalthea said...

I love mutton; in some ways I even prefer it to lamb, especially in flavorful dishes like tagines.
Great site, btw!

8:55 PM  

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